In the past, I had often given up bits of my summer to doing service. Since I am not paid by Georgia Tech during the summer—I am a 9 month employee as are most faculty members (this seems to surprise people who are not faculty, but there is no pay during the summer months) I cover my salary through grants and other sources, or I don’t. I should also say that these sources do not include time for service to Georgia Tech.
I felt good about that until last year when I took a big service hit over the summer. At a time when I wasn’t getting compensated. At the end of it, I received nothing (like, for example, recognition that I had worked on this and some deduction from my annual service load). And now as I sense this summer coming I realize that my experience last year has had a huge impact on how I feel about doing service this summer.
So this year I embark on a new experiment. I’m blocking all of June and July. I have no availability during these months. Note that that’s just two months, not the full three. And I am also not sure what I will do about students who want to defend or propose. I know people who will not participate over the summer because of this lack of compensation. That seems too extreme to me. But I’m also not making those months available for scheduling yet, because what I do already know that I like about this model is that I have the opportunity to plan some extended travel to go work with colleagues elsewhere. Now that’s a summer I can really get excited about.